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The development and testing of a new scale measuring attitudes towards elderly people

Ann Chambers Snuttjer, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The purpose of the present study was to identify some of the major factors within the construct of attitudes towards elderly people. Identification of some of the major factors led to the development of a newly designed scale. Development of the scale items was based upon a literature review, resulting in 150 written scale items. These scale items were then administered to a panel of experts who individually sorted each item statement into domains that in their best opinion described commonly held attitudes toward older adults. Thirty-six scale items were selected by at least three of the seven experts and included in the new scale. The items clustered into four concepts. The researcher added one concept consisting of three scale items that would reflect attitudes related to comfort in the presence, caring and advocacy of the elderly. The resulting scale consisted of 39 scale items and two demographic items. Validation of the factor structure of the newly developed generalized attitudinal scale was submitted to an exploratory factor analysis. ^ The scale was administered to 238 students enrolled in classes in a college or university setting in the Midwest United States. Findings from this sample did not support the proposed five-factor structure but the data results did conform to a three-factor structure. Twenty-nine of the original thirty-nine scale items had an acceptable loading factor on one factor. These twenty-nine scale items were retained to be included in the final attitudinal scale. Further findings indicated that the female respondents held more positive interpersonal and cognitive characteristics and held less negative stereotypical views of the elderly than did the male respondents. ^ Continued revision and modification of the scale items is necessary. The revised scale with additional items related to the identified factors needs to be administered to several samples composed of persons of diverse age, ethnicity, and near equal gender representation. ^

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Snuttjer, Ann Chambers, "The development and testing of a new scale measuring attitudes towards elderly people" (2001). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3009738.